Information about the 55km long Canal de Roanne à Digoin

Canal de Roanne à Digoin map France

The Canal de Roanne à Digoin begins at a large basin in Roanne, connected with a short navigable length of the river Loire, and ends close to the town of Digoin, where it joins the Canal latéral à Loire. The distance from Roanne basin to the junction with the lateral canal is 55.6km. Following the decline in commercial traffic, the three départements Loire, Saône-et-Loire and Allier, formed an association to promote its use for tourism and provided funding for manning the locks on Sundays. The canal is ideal for pleasure cruising, passing through the unspoilt countryside of the upper Loire valley.Canal de Roanne à Digoin map region

History – This canal was needed to bypass the Loire, which offered navigable conditions that were inadequate for the industrial era, at the same time serving as a feeder to the Canal latéral à la Loire. The canal was conceded to the Compagnie Franco-Suisse, founded in 1827, and designed by engineer De Varaigne. Works started in 1831 and the canal was inaugurated in 1838. Modernisation to Freycinet standards was designed by engineer Léonce-Abel Mazoyer after the State bought back the canal from the concessionary in 1863. Transfer to the two regions concerned – Bourgogne and Rhône-Alpes – is under discussion.

Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max Beam: 5.20m
  • Max Height: 3.45m
  • Max Draught: 1.80m


Locks – There are 10 locks of standard péniche size (39.00 by 5.20m). The total fall is about 37m, towards Digoin. Locks 4, 7 and 8 are among the deepest on the Freycinet network, 6.00 and 7.19m respectively. From 1st November to 31st March, lock operating times are 0900-1200 and 1300-1730, but notice of passage has to be given to the canal engineer’s office (telephone number below) before 1600 the previous day. From 1st April to 31st October, locks are operated every day of the week, and until 1900.

Draught – The maximum draught is 1.80m.

Headroom – The minimum headroom is 3.45m above normal water level.

Towpath – There is a good towpath throughout.

Authority – VNF – Direction territoriale Centre-Bourgogne
CEMI de Montceau
–    9ème écluse Océan, 71300 Montceau-les-Mines

Click to enlarge

Canal de Roanne a Digoin Waterway strip

Route description

PK 55.6     Junction with Canal latéral à Loire, Digoin 2000m
PK 55.2     Bridge (Bretons)
PK 54.7     Lock 10 (Bretons)
PK 54.3     Main road bridge (N79)
PK 53.4     Lock 9 (Beugnets), bridge
PK 52.3     Lock 8 (Chassenard)
PK 51.7     Bridge (Blancs)
PK 50.9     Bridge (Saint-Léger)
PK 49.7     Bridge (Séez)
PK 48.9     Bridge (Croix-Rouge), pontoon, boat moorings
PK 48.2     Bridge (Beaume)
PK 46.5     Bridge (Giverdon)
PK 44.9     Bridge (Lurcy)
PK 42.4     Bridge (Bonnand)
PK 40.7     Bridge (Morgat)
PK 40.3     Avrilly, quay l/b, small village l/b
PK 39.2     Bridge (Thynet)
PK 38.7     Bridge (Bouillets)
PK 37.3     Bridge (Bas-de-Bouis)
PK 36.6     Lock 7 (Bourg-le-Comte)
PK 36.5     Bridge (Bourg-le-Comte)
PK 36.0     Bridge (Gallay)
PK 35.7     Bourg-le-Comte quay, boat moorings and Urbise aqueduct, village 300m l/b
PK 35.5     Bridge (Meillerands)
PK 34.9     Bridge (Biscot)
PK 34.5     Bridge (Diens)
PK 33.3     Bridge (Croix-Valentin)
PK 33.0     Chambilly, quay r/b, Marcigny 2500m
PK 32.8     Lock 6 (Chambilly), bridge
PK 32.3     Lock 5 (Montgrailloux), bridge
PK 31.8     Lock 4 (Artaix)
PK 30.8     Bridge (Narbot)
PK 30.3     Bridge (Augers)
PK 29.8     Bridge (Artaix 2) and basin d/s l/b, boat moorings and open camp site
PK 29.6     Arçon aqueduct
PK 29.1     Bridge (Artaix 1)
PK 29.0     Artaix, quay l/b
PK 28.2     Bridge (Fanges)
PK 27.4     Bridge (Arcelles)
PK 26.3     Aqueduct (Brennons)
PK 26.1     Bridge (Melay), towpath crosses back to r/b
PK 26.0     Melay-sur-Loire, boat moorings l/b, water, electricity, shower, village 1500m, turning basin
PK 25.5     Bridge (Corrètes), towpath crosses to l/b
PK 24.8     Bridge (Bagnots)
PK 23.9     Bridge (Gallands)
PK 23.3     Bridge (Putenat)
PK 22.8     Bridge (Brivet)
PK 21.2     Iguerande, quay l/b, water, electricity, village 1500m on r/b of Loire
PK 21.1     Bridge (Duplan)Roanne Junction Plan
PK 20.2     Bridge (Valendru)
PK 19.6     Bridge (Ray)
PK 18.6     Bridge (Teyssonne)
PK 18.5     Teyssonne aqueduct
PK 16.0     Bridge (Boutasson)
PK 15.0     Bridge (Briennon), D4, Pouilly-sous-Charlieu 2000m and Charlieu 7000m
PK 14.7     Briennon port de plaisance, Les Marins d’Eau Douce, 20 berths, 1st night free then €5, diesel, water, electricity, showers €3, crane on request, slipway, restaurant barges, village l/b
PK 13.6     Lock 3 (Briennon), bridge
PK 12.9     Bridge (Rate)
PK 12.3     Bridge (Maltaverne)
PK 11.2     Bridge (Justices)
PK 10.3     Bridge (Mathérat)
PK 9.2     Lock 2 (Cornillon), bridge (château, l/b, 500m)
PK 8.6     Bridge (Escroqué)
PK 7.3     Bridge (Mably)

Roanne Port
The last lock in Roanne opens into the enormous basin which has become a popular destination and wintering place for long-distance boaters. © FSRX

PK 6.1     Bridges (Bonvert) and footbridge
PK 5.6     Private quay serving Roanne arsenal, l/b
PK 5.3     Pipeline crossing
PK 5.2     Bridge (Aiguilly), D482
PK 4.6     Bridge (Vadon)
PK 3.6     Footbridge (Matel)
PK 3.1     Bridge (Gardet)
PK 2.3     Oudan aqueduct
PK 2.2     Oudan basin, l/b, 800m long but silted up
PK 1.9     Bridge (Côtes)
PK 1.8     Bridge (N7, Roanne bypass)
PK 0.9     Lock 1 (Roanne), bridges
PK 0.0     Roanne basin 850m long connected to the Loire (navigable for 1km), boat harbour, 100 berths, night €4, water, electricity, shower, slipway, crane on request,  good winter moorings, trip boats